Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


It’s not as bad as it looks: Seasons of close union with Jesus

My friend Nick and I used to talk about driving fast cars and motorcycles.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), Nick’s mom is a doctor who knew the very real consequences of motorcycle collisions – he was therefore forbidden from owning or driving a motorcycle.  When you always see the worst, it’s easy to think that tragedy is normal.

In my work as a pastor I can get disappointed by how weak and fickle people are.  In my position of trust I hear many stories that don’t surprise me but they can get me down.  I must admit that sometimes, just like Nick’s doctor mom, I start to think the worst. It’s easy to think that a life of up and down, compromise in sin and fleeting moments of enjoyment with Christ is normal.

Why we face opposition to living in joy

I have a friend who recently became a pastor at a medium sized church, he says, “Don’t judge a church by it’s board.”  Not saying that your church board is unspiritual or unemotional, but certainly there are members of many churches who will see a flame of life in a young believer and try to put it out.  These sincere and influential believers have come to the disappointing conclusion that feeling a pleasurable and enjoyable walk with Christ is something you only need in your immaturity.  Don’t believe them, God has a better plan for your life.

The secrets to walking with Jesus every moment

We are so esteemed by God that we are given a threefold strategy to living and working in the ongoing and enjoyable presence of God.  From the beginning, he made us to be his perfect partner.  Psalm 139 says that he knit us together in our mother’s womb.  He made us like this, and he knows how we best function.

1. Bring God pleasure.  You were made to bring joy to God and in that activity, you were made to experience the greatest pleasure. No other pleasure comes close to what Christ gives us. Set your focus on Him.

Song of Songs 3.6-11: No one even talks about the bride here, she’s with him and that’s all we see.

     – in the safety of the Lord
     – everyone is keen to see this one that the Lord loves and has put in his care
     – every pleasure she has is from the Lord, even with all the attention she’s receiving, it’s Him she’s enthralled with.
     – We are beautiful because we’re clothed by God (Colossians 3.12)

2. Believe that God sees you more clearly than even you see yourself.  You have a place and a partnership with God that He is calling out of you.  What he says may not be visible to you, but it’s real.  He didn’t make a mistake with you.

Song of Songs 4.1-5: This is one of the embarrassing passages in the Song, the bridegroom enjoys the physical beauty of his bride.  The Lord, in all his beauty and glory, looks at you, weak believer, and finds in you beauty.

     – You are beautiful
     – You are wholehearted
     – You are honourable
     – You devour the deep truths of God
     – Your words kiss the heart of God – he loves your voice.
As hard as it is to believe, it’s the only way.  As Anselm & Augustine taught us, believe so that you can see.

3. Be confident that God wants to be with you more than you want to be with Him.  It’s him that enticed you to loving Him, you didn’t fool him or impress the God of the Universe into saving you.

Therefore, anywhere he is sending you, he’s going with you.  Song of Songs 4.8 & Matthew 28.18-20

     – Jesus first says: All authority is given to me
     – Then he commands us: Go into all the world
     – Finally he ensures us: I am always with you.

The truth about how the Lord sees you

You are the one that the Lord loves.  He chose you.  He formed you.  He’s filled you with his Spirit.  You are his favourite one.  It’s now with him that you walk.  There’s no where you can go that he can’t find you and there’s no place he’ll send you that he’s not already gone.

When the Lord speaks these truths about you, it’s because when He sees you, he sees your beginning and your end.  Therefore, you can have confident that you bring God pleasure.  Find your pleasure in him today.  You can be confident that with him is better than without him.

Let go of anything that hinders your love and keeps you from running with Him.

Walking in Confidence

With the many voices speaking at us today, it is a challenge to believe that Jesus has made us to live in continuous union with Him.  It’s a challenge to believe before we see.  Will you join me in seeking to live in the confidence that the Lord wants to be with us.  Would you meditate on the thoughts that Jesus has about you this week?

Tell me, which is the hardest to believe?  What resonates with you as you read and listen to the Lord?



What to do on Halloween?

A friend emailed me recently who feels torn between giving their kids the fun of Halloween and standing against the evil associated with the day (witchcraft, gluttony). Here’s part of my response.

Halloween for us is our one chance annually to talk to all our neighbours. If the Lord is telling you not to celebrate on this day, keep reading, I have some ideas.

We participate at Halloween for these reasons:
1. It was, at some point, Christian celebration: hallowe’en is hallowed evening which is holy evening
2. Partying together is bonding
3. God is redeeming all things: he’s making all things new.
4. I really like the final chance to see my neighbours before we lock everything down for the winter. (a Winnipeg thing)

But, don’t destroy your conscience. The Lord has a reason for how you feel (same as how I feel about obligation gift giving at Christmas – if it’s an obligation it’s no gift). Here’s some ideas about how to make it special and not engaging in the evil elements of the night.

1. Volunteer to be a safety patrol. Be crossing guards at a busy intersection.
2. Put on a big pot of soup or chili, pull your fire pit to the front yard and feed the parents of kids.
3. Kids love to dress up. Dress up with them, go buy some candy and visit the children’s hospital (or the seniors home). Do it a day early or a day late and it’s just goofy. Do it on the 31st and it’s still goofy.

Ultimately, if you’re feeling uneasy, ask the Lord and ask your family. Help your kids know what you feel uncomfortable about, because it’s probably not everything. It may be that you’re to pray and call others to pray. (This is probably a good idea anyway).

Your feelings on it are trustworthy, but for what purpose? There’s no universal principal, you must walk with the Spirit. Can you think of ways to bring honor to Jesus on Halloween? What do you do to be God honouring on Halloween?

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Slip Sliding Away: Season 2 in the Song of Songs

Once again I’ve disappointed myself.  This time it took about 5 days to totally blow my plan to eat healthy and exercise regularly.  Now I have my excuses all ready but I can tell that you just aren’t interested, and frankly, I’m not interested in the excuses either.  Some people call this “backsliding.”

Just another tool for breaking my resolve Continue reading


Father and Son

My youngest son got glasses this week so I pulled out the school memories book so we could compare what I looked like in grade 2.  What do you think?

And no surprise to see that father and son both loved soccer in grade 5!

Any wonder they’re both so handsome?  It’s probably their mother’s fault.

The real reason we have cute kids!

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A Roller Coaster Faith Experience

Seasons of Faith #1

Maybe it’s the changing of fall that is helping me to think of a change of season.  School started, the leaves are changing (and blowing off in today’s high winds), I’ve had my first pumpkin pie and getting my last few runs and rides in before the inevitable snow comes.  There are signs all around me of the changing season; seems like fall is a season dedicated to change.

In my walk with Christ, I find myself in seasons too.  I hope that as I describe some of these seasons that you’ll be able to identify yourself and find a divine plan through it.  My textbook for understanding the seasons of my faith is the book of Song of Solomon.  My prayer is that you will grow in your love for the Bridegroom God and become more confident in his desire for you. Continue reading